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CORRECTED-WRAPUP 8-Saudi oil attacks came from southwest Iran, U.S. official says, raising tensions

Top Stories - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 09:03

WASHINGTON/DUBAI, Sept 17 (Reuters) - The United States believes the attacks that crippled Saudi Arabian oil facilities last weekend originated in southwestern Iran, a U.S. official told Reuters on Tuesday, an assessment that further increases tension in the Middle East. Three officials, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said the attacks involved both cruise missiles and drones, indicating that they involved a higher degree of complexity and sophistication than initially thought.


NYC to Allow 1.1 Million Students to Skip Class for Climate Protests

Top Stories - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 08:49

New York City public schools will allow 1.1 million students  to skip classes Friday in order to attend the planned "climate strike" ahead of the United Nations Climate Action Summit.The protests aim to press the Summit for immediate action to stop climate change, and are geared specifically for the participation of young people.Reactions to the decision have been ecstatic in some cases, as protest organizers contemplate what they hope will be the largest climate change protest in the history of the U.S.“This completely changes things, and it’s our doing,” Xiye Bastida, 17, a senior at Beacon High School in Manhattan, told the New York Times. Some teachers at her school were planning to accompany students to the protests even before the school district granted permission to do so.“We’re not against the school system,” she said. “We need the schools to work with us because our larger goal is to stop the fossil fuel industry.”


How to load a massive amount of data into Photos on a Mac set to Optimize Mac Storage

Macworld - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 08:00

iCloud Photos lets you keep full-resolution versions of your images and videos in iCloud storage, while letting you choose to store just optimized versions—thumbnails and low-res video previews—on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. That’s great, especially when you have more media than storage. When you need the full image or video, you can double-click it within Photos to retrieve it for local use.

The conundrum can come when you want to load a massive amount of media data into Photos on a Mac set to Optimize Mac Storage (in Photos > Preferences > iCloud) all at once instead of adding to it over time. The trick is to stagger your import. Let’s say you have—as one Macworld reader did—600GB of media data and a 128GB disk drive in your Mac.

To read this article in full, please click here

20 dead as truck falls off cliff in southern Philippines

Top Stories - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 07:12

Twenty villagers were killed and 14 others were injured when the truck they were riding in lost control and fell off a cliff Tuesday in a remote mountain village in the southern Philippines, police and the Red Cross said. Provincial police chief Joel Limson said the truck was negotiating a downhill road in Tboli town in South Cotabato province when its brakes apparently failed and plummeted down a ravine, pinning 15 people to death. Police, Red Cross volunteers and villagers retrieved the 15 bodies from the wreckage at the bottom of the ravine.


Philippines Arrests Hundreds of Chinese For Alleged Cybercrimes

Top Stories - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 06:33

(Bloomberg) -- About 600 allegedly illegal Chinese workers have been arrested in the Philippines in less than a week after Beijing’s call for a crackdown on online gambling.Some 324 undocumented Chinese nationals will be deported after being apprehended on Monday in the western Palawan province for alleged cybercrimes, the Philippines’ immigration bureau said in a statement Tuesday.The agency also said in an earlier statement it had arrested 277 Chinese nationals last Wednesday for allegedly conducting illegal online operations in Pasig City in the Philippine capital, Manila. Those arrested are wanted for fraud and investments scams in China, the immigration bureau added, citing information from Chinese authorities.Last month, China urged the Philippines to crack down on online casino operations catering mostly to Chinese nationals. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said he will not ban the billion-peso industry despite Beijing’s opposition, as it benefits the Southeast Asian nation.To contact the reporter on this story: Andreo Calonzo in Manila at acalonzo1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Cecilia Yap at cyap19@bloomberg.net, Ruth Pollard, Ditas LopezFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Book Review: Justice Neil Gorsuch’s A Republic, If You Can Keep It

Top Stories - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 06:30

Just over 30 years ago, President Ronald Reagan nominated a former Yale law professor, then serving as a D.C. Circuit judge, to the Supreme Court. His views on the meaning of the Constitution were considered by some of the political class to be iniquitous. The nominee’s constructive criticism of the mainstream of legal analysis was its failure to show allegiance to the actual language of the Constitution. “I don’t think the Constitution is studied almost anywhere, including law schools. In law schools, what they study is what the court said about the Constitution. They study the opinions. They don’t study the Constitution itself.”Of course, the nominee was Robert Bork. His view that the Constitution had an ageless meaning was cruelly savaged by Senator Ted Kennedy. “Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids,” and other shameful regressions would exist. Critics condemned Bork’s view that the words in the Constitution mean now what they meant when written in 1787. No living, breathing, mutating Constitution for Bork. At his death in 2012, some labeled him the “original originalist.”The Senate rejected Bork’s nomination, but his approach to constitutional interpretation has thrived — though by no means has it conquered. Justice Neil Gorsuch in his new book explains and vigorously promotes originalism. The significance of that form of analysis is indicated by the title he chose for his book: A Republic, If You Can Keep It. Those were the words of Benjamin Franklin in explaining what the Constitutional Convention had created. The centrality of originalism to the survival of the Republic, Gorsuch writes, arises from separation of powers. If judges abandon their constitutional role of simply interpreting (though often it is not so simple) what the political branches have done, they are assuming the roles that the other branches are to perform.Gorsuch says the book is for the general citizenry, not academics. He wants to revive and encourage “interest in the Constitution of the framers’ design and the judge’s role in it.” Even with that goal, the author gives those who are knowledgeable, imperfectly so like this subordinate federal judge, a lot to ponder. A significant part of Gorsuch’s book reprints speeches, court opinions, and other prior writings. Much new is interspersed, though.This is not a memoir. Readers who want the details of his selection and confirmation for the Supreme Court will not be sated. One’s appetite is whetted at the beginning of the book, when Gorsuch discusses receiving the White House call, being interviewed, and being announced. Then the book’s final chapter, as the author previews it, “collects some of the statements I made during and shortly after the nomination and confirmation process.” That’s it. Justice Gorsuch may have decided that persuasively presenting his principles about the judicial role was both more appropriate and more important than recounting a recent political battle. Clarence Thomas is the one current justice who has written extensively about his confirmation controversies, but he waited 17 years to publish. As a personal aside, I too wrote about the pains and sufferings of a difficult confirmation, mine merely for a circuit court.  I waited six years until the wounds had (mainly) healed.There is just a little about his personal background. What is recounted can be charming. Gorsuch quickly describes several ancestors, including a grandfather in Denver who was a trolley-car driver, then a lawyer. This is the ancestor who had an awful voice but enjoyed using it to sing — loudly. A grandmother’s family built a small hotel near a railroad depot in Wyoming, which still stands and is used by the current generation during visits to the area.Mom and Dad were both lawyers, though the father little enjoyed being one. What he passed on to his son was a love of the outdoors, of camping, hunting, and skiing, but of fishing most of all. Gorsuch’s mother graduated from college at age 19 and from law school at 22. She became the first female assistant district attorney in Denver, and later was a state legislator. Gorsuch’s wife is a native of England. He gives a brief description of her background and their meeting while he was studying for a doctorate in England.  She agreed to marry him and move to Colorado, then fell in love with the West.Introduced to fishing by his father, Gorsuch has considerable knowledge of its mysteries. He recounts an amusing episode with a possibly novice fly-fisherman, Justice Antonin Scalia. There was no calm casting of lures for Scalia during a visit to Colorado — “he would storm over in his waders” to a spot Gorsuch thought was promising, surely scaring any fish. An affecting photo of the two, a Supreme Court justice and his not-yet-successor, is included, neither man in waders but a lake and a boat behind them.In Justice Scalia’s defense, he was an able hunter. The head of an elk he named Leroy which once adorned his chambers is now on the wall in Justice Gorsuch’s.The book is divided into only seven chapters. Within most of them are previous writings by the author, including lengthy excerpts from judicial opinions. He analyzes the importance of separation of powers in one chapter and of originalism and textualism in another. A chapter on the “Art of Judging” focuses on the need for courage to strive for the correct result and not the comfortable, easy one. He argues that good intentions have led to the worst Supreme Court decisions, such as Dred Scott, which found constitutional protection for slavery in 1857, and Korematsu, which in 1944 found no constitutional barrier to imprisoning American citizens during wartime if their country of origin, Japan, had started a war with the United States. He argues convincingly that the two decisions resulted from the Supreme Court’s seeking what appeared to be the best policy results at the time, as opposed to applying the plain language of the Constitution.It is an optimistic book, urging the avoidance of cynicism and promoting reasonable discourse on the issues that divide us. One way he has literally taught such perspectives is in a class on ethics at the University of Colorado. He asks, over at least the silent groans of many students, that they write their own obituary. Their written responses often show they are receiving what he is trying to give them, which is an understanding that what most of us, on reflection, will want to be remembered for are such things as kindness, love of family, a contribution to the world around us.Gorsuch’s writing style is conversational, as are many of his court opinions. He leavens his descriptions of legal debates with asides such as, after admitting that letting courts update the Constitution to reach the best results was not “completely insane,” saying that many things might not be insane but are still ill-advised — a point he often makes to his teenage daughters.In addition to using originalism to interpret the Constitution, Gorsuch promotes adoption of its close relative, textualism, to interpret statutes. Both approaches rely on the words of the relevant text as they would have been understood at the time of their creation. He acknowledges that these tools do not always provide a clear answer. Revising a Churchill quote about democracy as a form of government, he says that at the very least, originalism “is the worst form of constitutional interpretation, except for all the others.” It provides considerable determinacy; as much as humanly possible, it leaves out of judicial analysis the policy desires of judges; it allows the compromises inherent in our form of government to be upheld — Congress decides what statutes are to do, and the difficult method to amend the Constitution remains the only way revisions are made. The fact that judges are largely expected to wander free of such texts was recently, and startlingly, made apparent to me when an attorney in his oral argument stated dismissively that the only thing the other side had to support its position was the statute, while his side had the case law.Those whom the justice most admires are identified along the way. Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy, for whom Gorsuch clerked, are among them. A long-ago Tenth Circuit judge, Alfred Murrah, is another, highlighted for his tireless work ethic and as a representative of the people who toil quietly in the service of country. Also receiving considerable praise are such historic figures as George Washington, John Adams, James Madison, and Theodore Roosevelt. Gorsuch quotes the segment of TR’s speech about credit belonging not to the critic but to the person in the arena, with “face marred by dust and sweat and blood,” who, through defeat or victory, is not to be found among the “cold and timid souls.” By praising both the tireless Judge Murrah and this part of TR’s legacy, Gorsuch is urging his citizen audience to strive mightily, and as he emphasizes, also calmly and respectfully, to preserve this Republic.Three years after his confirmation defeat, Robert Bork wrote a book detailing his disagreements with the direction of the Supreme Court and explaining the benefits of originalism, closing with a lengthy narrative of his blocked path to the Court. Fortunately for Gorsuch and for the nomination process more generally, his selection was not met with the hyperbolic condemnation that Bork’s invoked. His book about originalism comes two years after his confirmation victory. Justice Gorsuch has written a temperate book, with civility shown to all. Such fairness, though, does not reduce the fervor with which he urges that we keep this country a republic.


The Attack on Saudi Arabia Is the Crisis Iran Was Waiting For

Top Stories - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 06:30

A  sophisticated drone and cruise-missile attack on Saudi Arabia’s largest oil-processing facility on Saturday has sent shock waves through the world’s oil markets and leaves the U.S. and allies at a crossroads about how to deal with a growing threat from Iran and its supporters. This is the crisis Iran has been waiting for, with pro-regime media tweeting about the “unprecedented attack” and parroting the threats of Yemen’s Houthi rebels against Saudi oil infrastructure.Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said Iran was behind the attack, and U.S. officials have released satellite images and spoken to media about details of the sophisticated assault. The attack showcases Iran’s precision weapons guidance. This is a threat that has been increasing for years. The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act apprised Congress of Iran’s ballistic-missile program and drones. Israel also warned about similar threats in early September, asserting that Iran was transferring precision missile guidance to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Iran has been boasting about its drone, cruise-missile, and precision munitions since a large drill it undertook in March.However, Tehran has also been stymied in how to employ its arsenal, weighing the responses it wants to give in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran deal, in May 2018. For a year Iran used its good-cop, bad-cop routine, threatening to walk away from provisions of the deal if European and other countries didn’t work to get around Washington’s sanctions. But in May Tehran changed tactics. As sanctions took a bite, Tehran intimated that if Iran couldn’t export oil, neither would others. Washington has accused Iran of being behind the sabotage of six ships in May and June as well as the downing of a U.S. drone in June. Rockets also fell near U.S. bases in Iraq. Iran has also worked through its Houthi rebel allies in Yemen to supply know-how behind drone and air-defense technology. Pompeo says Iran is behind at least 100 attacks originating in Yemen.All this was window dressing for the more massive long-range attack that was to come this week. Two previous long-range attacks had targeted oil facilities west of Riyadh and near the border with the United Arab Emirates. In the latter attack, Iran’s Press TV claimed ten Yemeni drones had been responsible. The early hours of September 14 showed fires and explosions at Abqaiq. Satellite images revealed damage to almost 20 buildings, including liquified-natural-gas storage tanks. The damage wasn’t chaotic, as it would have been if someone tossed explosives and hoped they would hit their mark. Rather it was precise; one image shows four storage tanks hit in the same location.This level of precision is important. As salient was the ability of a force purported to include dozens of drones and cruise missiles to evade air-defense systems in eastern Saudi Arabia near Bahrain. This should be an area, not far from the U.S. naval base in Bahrain and the Al-Udeid base in Qatar, as well as U.S. bases in the UAE and Kuwait, that would be well defended. Whether the attack originated directly from Iran or from Iran-backed Houthis, either scenario shows how extremely proficient Iran and its allies have become with drones and missiles. This is an indigenous weapons program that outpaces Iran’s nearest neighbors, with the exception of Israel. It is a threat that requires U.S. air defense and radar to help confront. The larger question for the Trump administration is not just about defending allies, but also about whether it wants to try to deter Iran. Despite warnings since May that Iranian actions would meet with retaliation, Washington has been reticent to retaliate militarily, preferring a campaign of “maximum pressure.” It is hard to ignore the Iranian regime’s pronouncements on September 10 that the departure of National Security Advisor John Bolton showed that the U.S. had failed in its pressure campaign. It is also hard to believe that the sophisticated Abqaiq attack was planned in only four days.Tehran would have known that an unprecedented attack on key Saudi Arabian oil facilities by so many drones would raise eyebrows about claims that the poor and isolated Houthi rebels were behind it. The attack sends a clear message: This can get worse; end the sanctions and don’t risk the world’s oil supply. Iran thinks that Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies won’t risk a conflict, and the Iranians think they called the Trump administration’s bluff in June. September 14 was a gamble but also a clear message felt across the Middle East. The era of Iran’s sophisticated precision-guided drone and cruise-missile attacks is here.


Trump boasts about wealth and makes series of false claims in hate-filled rally speech disrupted by flies and protesters

Top Stories - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 06:27

Donald Trump was twice interrupted by protesters at a rally during which he criticised his opponents, discussed his plans to build a border wall and reiterated his support for Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court justice who has been accused of sexual harassment.The president went on to describe Brett Kavanaugh as a “great talent, a great brilliant man.”


Polk Legend L100 review: Higher performance than you'd expect from any bookshelf speaker

Macworld - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 06:00
Polk's Legend L100 speakers deliver well-rounded sound with generally precise renderings.

A sour note: Calling on Apple to stop doing keynotes

Macworld - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 06:00

Deriding the iPhone is so 2018. What’s hot this year is deriding iPhone events.

Writing for a local paper in the New York area called… [puts on reading glasses, squints]… The New York Times, Charlie Warzel called for Apple to stop doing product release keynotes. Because all our problems can be traced back to Apple keynotes.

John Gruber has already responded to Warzel’s piece but suffice it to say Warzel seems to have written it under the principle, “let the light of my burning strawmen guide your way.”

To read this article in full, please click here

A flight in India was delayed when a swarm of angry bees covered the cockpit window and attacked staff who tried to remove them

Top Stories - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 05:54

Firefighters were eventually brought in to get the plane, with 135 passengers and Bangladesh's information minister on board, to take off.


Police clear major migrant camp in northern France

Top Stories - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 04:32

Grande-Synthe (France) (AFP) - French police began clearing around 1,000 migrants from a gymnasium near the northern port of Dunkirk on Tuesday after a court ruled it was a health and security hazard. The mayor of Grande-Synthe in December 2018 opened up the sports hall to migrant families seeking shelter from the cold. Since then, it has grown into a makeshift camp with around 800 people sleeping in tents pitched around the crammed gymnasium where some 170 people, mostly Iraqi Kurds hoping to reach Britain, had been sheltering.


Houthis Have an Arsenal of Ballistic and Cruise Missiles (Some from North Korea)

Top Stories - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 03:01

Know this: The Houthis inherited from the defunct Yemeni military a large number of Soviet-exported Scuds as well as North Korean-made Scuds called “Hwasong-6s.


Divided Fed set to cut interest rates this week, but then what?

Top Stories - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 01:04

Deep disagreements within the Federal Reserve over the economic outlook and how the U.S. central bank should respond will not stop policymakers from cutting interest rates at a two-day meeting that began on Tuesday. An oil price spike after attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities over the weekend added to the list of risks facing an economy already slowed by ongoing trade tensions and global weakness. At one end of the Fed's large boardroom table sit St. Louis Fed President James Bullard and Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari, who are expected to argue for a steep reduction in borrowing costs to counter low inflation and an inverted Treasury yield curve.


20 arrested, 18 charged in Minneapolis beatings

Top Stories - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 00:59

Minneapolis police chief, assault victim talk to Fox News about arrests in downtown beatings; Matt Finn reports.


Putin Loses Legendary Approval-Rating Crown to His New Neighbor

Top Stories - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 00:00

(Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.Vladimir Putin takes great pride in his sky-high approval rating. But with Muscovites rising up and a new government instilling hope in Ukraine, he’s being outshone by the president next door, Volodymyr Zelenskiy.It’s still early days for the administration in Kyiv. While pushing a raft of popular reforms, Zelenskiy, 41, remains in his honeymoon period, while cries he’s too close to a local billionaire grow louder.The 66-year-old Putin, meanwhile, is approaching two decades as Russia’s leader. Economic expansion has fizzled out, and along with it the spending largess that kept the masses happy.The last time his popularity sagged meaningfully, Putin famously got a boost after annexing Crimea from Ukraine and fomenting a war between the two former allies.Zelenskiy has a long way to go to match the 89% rating Putin reached back then.To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Langley in London at alangley1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrea Dudik at adudik@bloomberg.net, Gregory L. WhiteFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


In leaderless Hong Kong movement, Joshua Wong just 1 voice

Top Stories - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 23:02

Overseas, Joshua Wong has emerged as a prominent face of Hong Kong's months-long protests for full democracy. While not diminishing the importance of that role, other protesters say Wong does not speak for what is purposefully a leaderless movement. "Not that nobody cares about what he says, but it's just that Joshua Wong alone cannot represent the whole of Hong Kong," said Sean Au, a 17-year-old student.


Artists refusing to make gay wedding invitations win US legal battle

Top Stories - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 22:03

Two Arizona artists who refused to create invitations to same-sex weddings due to their Christian beliefs were within their legal rights, the US state's top court ruled Monday. The state Supreme Court's decision invalidates previous judgments against the two women for violating a "human relations ordinance" introduced by the southwestern city of Phoenix to safeguard LGBTQ rights. According to their lawyers, the two artists could have faced up to six months in prison and a $2,500 fine each time they refused to make invitations to gay weddings.


'Evil needs to pay': Missing Florida mom Casei Jones and her four children all found dead in Georgia

Top Stories - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 21:26

Casei Jones, 32, and her four children, were found dead in Georgia and a warrant has been issued for Casei Jones' husband, Michael Wayne Jones Jr.


London Zoo discovers largest amphibian in the world, which they unknowingly exhibited for 20 years

Top Stories - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 19:01

A salamander that lived at London Zoo for 20 years has turned out to be a new species which could be the largest amphibian in the world. The animal, which was kept at the zoo in the Twenties and later preserved at the Natural History Museum, was thought to be a Chinese giant salamander, but tests from 17 specimens held at the museum showed it was completely a new species that was actually bigger than its cousin. The amphibian, which has been called the South China giant salamander, was held by the museum for 74 years and is presumed to still live in the wild. When it lived at London Zoo, scientists in the 1920s had abandoned proposals that it could be a new species. The same salamander has now been used to define the characteristics of the new species. A new species of giant salamander - possibly the largest amphibian in the world - has been identified from a dead specimen that has been on display at the Natural History Museum for 74 years. Credit: SWNS/ZSL  The South China giant salamander can reach nearly two metres and is the largest of the 8,000 amphibian species alive today, scientists from ZSL and London’s Natural History Museum said. Analysing tissue samples from wild salamanders and the DNA specimens scientists revealed three genetic lineages. These were from different river systems and mountain ranges across China and could have diverged more than three million years ago. Professor Samuel Turvey, of the ZSL and lead author of the study published today in Ecology and Evolution journal said: “The decline in wild Chinese giant salamander numbers has been catastrophic, mainly due to recent overexploitation for food. “We hope that this new understanding of their species diversity has arrived in time to support their successful conservation.”


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